A Korean supermarket in London is making waves for selling shrink-wrapped crabs to customers. The problem? They’re still alive.
Korea Foods, which has several branches across the U.K., has attracted international attention after customers noticed that the pre-packaged animals were still moving inside their plastic prisons.
Unhappy customers quickly flooded the market’s Facebook page with one-star reviews, expressing their outrage over the crabs’ treatment.
“Absolutely disgusted to discover you have live crabs wrapped in plastic,” one woman wrote. “The prolonged suffering these sentient being suffer at your hands is utterly unbelievable.”
“I can’t believe you sell live crabs at all let alone in those tight packages,” another said. “Disgraceful.”
The incident highlights just how little protection animals like crabs have under the law — the RSPCA told several outlets that crabs are exempt from the U.K.’s 2006 Animal Welfare Law, so it’s entirely legal to package them alive.
And though popular science has long held that crabs and lobsters don’t have feelings — possibly to alleviate guilt over dropping them into boiling water — a number of recent studies have shown that crustaceans do respond to pain stimuli, and will avoid areas where they have previously been shocked.
Korean Market originally responded to customer complaints by defending the practice, noting they’d been wrapping crabs like that for years to keep them “fresh” and blaming the heightened sensitivities of English shoppers, according to the Telegraph.
But the backlash continued to grow, and on Monday the company announced that they had halted the sale of live pre-packaged animals and were working with the RSPCA to improve their practices.
“Korea Foods recognises the concerns raised in the media recently, relating to the sale of live crabs,” they market said. “We are no longer offering the sale of live crabs until this issue is resolved.”
Though not being shrink-wrapped is just a small concession to crab feelings, even small victories are worth celebrating.